Saturday, April 21, 2012

Rupkotha


The lecture by Dr. Mian on “Folk and Fairy Tales from Bangladesh” was a wonderful glimpse into tales from a whole different culture and very entertaining. I liked that rupkotha translates to beautiful words told to children which mimics how fairy tales in the western world are often told to children as bed time stories. As with all other tales we have looked at, fairy tales from Bangladesh have been passed on orally as well and are seen as part of folk tradition. The traditional value is also mimicked in the collection of rupkothas titled Thakurar Jhuli that translates to Grandmother’s bag in English. Like western fairy tales, rupkothas are full of life lessons that look at the conflicts between good and evil, greed and generosity, virtue and vice but one important difference is that evil is punished while evil is redeemed in western tales. Other differences are that the characters are often monsters and demons but also include the familiar witches and kings as well as elements of magic, talking animals and the transformation of people. It was interesting to learn that the evil stepmother from the western stories became the jealous co-wife in these stories while the mermaid remained unchanged. Another interesting thing was that the witches are shown as smart while the monsters who were largely male were depicted as dumb in stories. Despite the differences, Dr. Mian’s presentation showed that basic structure and function of fairy tales is the same in every culture.   

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